Akufo-Addo must investigate partisan distribution of COVID-19 food – Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings

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The Member of Parliament for the Klottey Korley Constituency, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings has called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to institute a credible investigation into the alleged partisan distribution of food in some areas observing the lockdown including the Klottey-Korle constituency.

There has been an ongoing banter on the veracity of an allegation made by Dr. Zanetor who claimed that some persons in charge of the distribution of food including the Minister responsible for Gender and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison have been sharing food to only persons aligned to the governing New Patriotic Party.

Following the Coronavirus outbreak in Ghana, Government banned public gatherings and imposed a partial lockdown of the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The government however decided to support the vulnerable by distribution food to them.

Dr. Zanetor had argued that there was no transparency in the distribution of the food.

“People are using partisanship to distribute food. This is unacceptable. This is very sad. The lockdown is for the whole place and not just a few people. What is going on is wrong. We need greater accountability and transparency in the distribution of food,” Dr. Zanetor said when she distributed food to some Kayayei recently.

Government however disputed Dr. Zanetor’s claim.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the Klottey Korle legislator called on President Akufo-Addo to probe the alleged politicisation of the food items.

“I call on the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to institute credible investigations into the seeming politicization of food distribution in this time of crisis. My constituents and I stand ready to cooperate and to present unimpeachable evidence before such an investigative panel,” she said.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison had earlier stated that “The MP’s allegation that people are being asked to show party cards ostensibly by officials distributing Government food relief items is a total fabrication. In fact, the distribution of the food items to the Kayayei and the vulnerable is being done by the officials of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with the AMA, NADMO and the Fifth Infantry Battalion of the Ghana Armed Forces.”

On the same allegations, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Adjei Sowah also disputed claims by the Klottey Korle legislator describing her statement as unfortunate”

Below is the full statement from the Klottey Korle MP:

RESPONSE TO THE MINISTER FOR GENDER AND SOCIAL PROTECTION IN RESPECT OF HER STATEMENT REGARDING FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN KLOTTEY-KORLE AND BEYOND

My attention has been drawn to a statement by the Minister responsible for Gender and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison in which she makes strenuous but unconvincing efforts to address the disturbing occurrences regarding distribution of food in these difficult times.

For the record, I wish to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a major humanitarian crisis which does not warrant partisanship in extending support to the vulnerable.

It is imperative to recall that long before those of us in Klottey-Korle came to terms with what appears to be unconscionable levels of partisan discrimination in the distribution of food in our constituency, several of such reports had been widely reported. Indeed, Ghanaweb put out a video report of a lady who had been denied food because she could not produce an NPP card as far back as 10th April, 2020. The NDC Parliamentary Candidate for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Mr. John Dumelo had to locate the said lady and make donations to her following that report.

My colleague MP in the Ablekuma South Constituecy Dr. Oko Vanderpuije had to also go public about how food intended for the poor was being distributed in NPP vehicles under the direct supervision of the NPP candidate for that constituency. Dr. Oko Vanderpuije before speaking to the press about the unfortunate development had called Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison on phone to bring the matter to her notice and to register his protest.

The media continues to report similar situations of seeming partisanship in food distribution across many lockdown constituencies. This is complimentary to reports from many Ghanaians who have shared their ordeal on social media.

This development is unGhanaian and inhumane and has led Civil Society Organisations such as the Center for Women in Politics (ACWP) to issue statements a few days ago condemning the practice.

Respectfully, I was expecting the Minister to have acted statesmanly by engaging me to assist her with evidence from the ground. At least she could have promised to launch an investigation into all these reports to determine the veracity or otherwise of the widespread claims. But rather unfortunately, she chose the path of name calling and engaging in old fashioned political shenanigans. A path I refuse to tread.

I call on the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to institute credible investigations into the seeming politicization of food distribution in this time of crisis. My constituents and I stand ready to cooperate and to present unimpeachable evidence before such an investigative panel.

May we learn to eschew needless partisanship in this defining period in the history of humankind and come together in true unity to win the war against COVID-19 and to protect the vulnerable adversely impacted in these apocalyptic times.

Signed,
Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings
[MP, Klottey-Korley Constituency]

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